With ESL leaving competitive R6 in Europe and FACEIT taking over the organisation within the region, a number of changes have been made with the region. Unlike the other three regions, Europe won't be split into "sub-regions" and will not be played on LAN, at least for now, meaning that the games will continue largely as many expect.
Instead, most of the changes come with Ubisoft's focus on the European Nationals in the region's tier two scene.
The league will be starting on the 22nd of June, with games broadcast on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 PM CEST, cast from the Ubisoft Paris studio across nine play days per stage.
A total 10 teams will play in a round-robin system, in each of the three-month long Stages leading up to the Six Majors (June to August and September to November). Each team will play each other once per Stage in a Best-of-One series with Wins (3 points), Draws (1 point), and Losses (0 points) the possible results, much like the recently-ended Pro League.
At the end of each Stage, the top four teams in the league are invited to the Six Major and earn points towards Six Invitational qualification, while the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth-placed only earn points for the Six Invitational next year.
The teams playing in this league are:
G2 Esports -- Pengu, Kantoraketti, UUNO, CTZN, Virtue, Shas[O]Udas and Sua (their two coaches)
Natus Vincere -- neLo, Kendrew, Saves, Doki, Panix and jahk (their coach)
Team Vitality -- BriD, BiBoo, Stigi, Goga, Hungry, Lyloun and Affy (their coach and analyst)
Rogue -- Hicks, risze, AceeZ, korey and ripz
Team Secret -- KS, Drvn, Prano, Hife, Exp0, Lazzo, Omerta and Titan (their two coaches and analyst)
Team Empire -- ShepparD, JoyStiCK, karzheka, Scyther, Dan and RayzerGM (their coach)
Virtus.pro -- wTg, Rask, Shockwave, p4sh4, Amision, Toda and Andreezy (their coach and analyst)
BDS Esport -- rxwd, Shaiiko, Renshiro, RaFaLe and Elemzje
IziDream -- P4, Shiinka, Chaoxys, Dirza and Voy
Chaos Esports Club -- REDGROOVE, Renuilz, VITO, SHA77E, Syred and Hyperino (their coach and analyst)
At the end of all three stages, the points will be summed up. The top-four will proceed to the Regional Finals, where they will play each other on LAN for the European Champion title. The team that finishes ninth, though, will have to play a relegation matchup against the second-placed team from the Challenger League Relegation Playoffs (played at the Regional Finals) that season, while the tenth-placed team will be automatically relegated in favour of the first-placed Challenger League Relegation Playoffs team.
The following leagues will form the officially supported EU Nationals when their next seasons kick-off:
GSA Nationals -- Supporting the nations of Germany, Switzerland and Austria
Russian Major League -- Supporting Russia and all ex-Soviet nations
6 French League -- Supporting France and French-speaking Europeans
Nordic Championship -- Supporting Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
UK & Ireland Nationals -- Supporting the UK and Ireland
Benelux League -- Supporting Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg
Spain Nationals -- Supporting Spain
PG Nationals -- Supporting Italy
Polish Masters -- Supporting Poland
The top placed team in each of the above leagues joins an open qualified team in the region's Challenger League. If the winner of the National league is already present in the Challenger League, the runners-up will thus be promoted instead.
While this does seem to exclude mixed-nationality teams, these teams can compete under the following two criteria:
- The team's organisation fits one of the nations (e.g. Team Vitality is French, hence the team can play in the 6 French League)
- The majority of the players live in the country in question (e.g. the G2 Esports players live in Germany, hence they can play in the GSA League)
With these rules in mind, 23 out of the 24 teams that played in Europe's Pro League, Challenger League, and Challenger League Closed Qualifiers during Season 11 would have a corresponding national league to compete in, with just the Hungarian roster of Salamander being excluded. As previously reported, these national leagues also come with the following rule changes to put them more in line with the Pro League:
- You must be 18+ years-old to play instead of 16+ years-old.
- Each team and organisation is only allowed to be in one national scene per nine-month long season.
- Player transfers between national teams are only allowed during the Pro League transfer window.
- A player is locked to a single national league per nine-month long season and can only be transferred to another scene during the transfer window.
The Challenger League's top-two teams will also journey to the Regional Finals to decide which team finishes as the Challenger League champion -- and gets automatically promoted -- and which one has to play the ninth-placed European League team.
Here, 12 teams (one winner per each of the nine National Leagues, one team from the Open Qualifier, and two relegated European League teams) will be first divided into twio groups of six teams each. Similar to the top-flight league, each group will play each other once in a round-robin, Best-of-One format, with the top-four teams advancing to the Challenger League Playoffs, where they will fight it out to become one of the two teams headed to the Relegations Playoffs at the Regional Finals.
The broadcast for the leagues will also see a huge jump, with casting talent centralised at the Ubisoft studio in Paris. Included will be new features to boost the production value of the league:
Special tools and material to assist casting talent.
A dedicated analyst area.
New types of content such as debates, editorial pieces, interactive content, and more.
Tech improvements backstage.
However, thanks to the COVID-19 situation, the full studio will not be opened at the start of the EUL on June 22nd.
Keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for full updates on these and all other announced leagues when it kicks off in just over a months time.